There are 3 main types of Parasites that can cause skin problems for guinea:
- Static Lice
- Running Lice
Burrowing Mites / Mange Mites
Trixicarus Caviae is a tiny Mite that can burrow under your guineas's skin and cause intense itching. Look carefully, you may see small bumps just under the skin in the area of infestation. These are the Mites that have burrowed into the skin and will cause your guinea to scratch himself. The hair around the infested area is usually thinning, and may be broken off half way down the hair shaft. Guineas bite and scratch themselves causing open sores that can become infected, so prompt treatment is required.
Severe Mange Mite infestations can kill a guinea, so prompt Veterinary treatment is required
Treatment is with Ivermectin - two applications 10 days apart usually sort the problem out. Sometimes a third dose is required if the infestation is bad. Where there is intense scratching, Ivermectin works within a few hours to relieve this problem, so get your guinea to the Vet for treatment ASAP.
Most Vets now recommend Xeno 50 or Xeno 450 which is a "spot-on" product rather than injections which can be very painful for guineas. Guineas often carry Mites with no symptoms, but when they get stressed (moving to a new home, pregnancy, illness, old age etc) the Mites can start breeding and causing problems.
Ivomec will only work on parasites that are blood suckers (ie Mange Mites and not Lice).
Where Mites are present, there is often a lot of skin debris and scabbing on the skin. To remove this, use the Manuka & Neem Shampoo but always leave at least 48 hours in between using Ivomec and shampooing your guinea.
Guineas often get Fungal and Parasitic problems at the same time. If this is the case, it is a good idea to give your guinea a CocoNeem Melt combined with Manuka & NeemShampoo. Follow the instructions carefully ensuring that you leave 48 hours in between using Ivomec and the Melt / Shampoo.
Static Lice are actually tiny Mites that feed off skin debris and adhere to the outer half of the hair shaft, often around the rump. They often come in with hay - hence they are sometimes known as Hay Mites. Eggs are also laid on the hair shaft and look like small dust particles on a light-coloured pig. These are the least damaging of the Parasites.
Lice 'n' Easy Shampoo will quickly deal with the problem as these are external parasites. Ivomec is not required as Static Lice are not blood suckers.
Like Static Lice, Running Lice, feed off skin debris and can be seen moving about in your guinea's hair, usually at the bottom of the hair on the skin surface. They are about 1mm long and look like tiny worms wriggling around. Their eggs are laid at the base of the hair, near the skin and look like small specks of dust.
Lice 'n' Easy Shampoo will quickly deal with the problem as these are external parasites. Ivomec is not required as Running Lice are not blood suckers.